Sunday, September 24, 2017

Go and Encourage One Another

Romans 15:5-6  " May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

               How often do we take for granted the gift of another day of life?  All too often, I'm sad to say.  Do we use our days for God's glory?  Are our own selfish desires put before the needs of others?  Each day, we are given opportunities to encourage one another.
             "We spend much of our time working or engaging in pleasurable pursuits of our own choosing. However, God wants our priorities to reflect His purposes—namely, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love others through a life of service and sacrifice (Matt. 22:37-40).  We can protect our future by yielding to the Spirit’s control and living out what Scripture considers most valuable: knowing God and obediently serving Him. Make sure that you put Him in charge of your mind, will, emotions, and appetite." []
             My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” Sometimes this means inconveniencing ourselves to care for the interests of others or receiving that help when we ourselves are in need. After all Christ has done for us, it’s a blessing to be His hands and feet in loving one another.
            As believers, we should not just care about our own comfort and welfare, but also for that of the lost.  We are the representatives of God's love.   Matthew 25:40 "‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
            M. Henry offers a few ways to encourage one another..."We should communicate our knowledge and experiences one to another. We should join in prayer and praise one with another. We should set a good example one before another. And it is the duty of those especially who live in the same vicinity and family thus to comfort and edify one another."
            As for myself, I write this blog specifically as a way to encourage others and myself.  Putting my experiences into written words reminds me of God's love and faithfulness.  I would encourage you to journal about your own walk with God.  There are many different ways to encourage each other...a simple smile, a note of thanks, a thoughtful prayer, a lending hand in time of need,.... and the list is endless.  Find your way to be an encouragement to another.

4 ways to show someone encouragement this week

1] Make it Sincere--be truthful, not flattery

2] Make it Specific-- share verses that pertain to what that person may be going through

3] Make it Public--share the gospel to 'your' world

4] Make it Personal-- share your own story how God has worked in your life

Thursday, September 21, 2017

You Are Enough For Me

"Though You Slay Me"  by Shane and Shane

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all


Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Sing a song to the one who's all I need

       So what's this blog going to be about?  Perspective, perseverance, contentment, grief, or eternity?  All will be included.  This song has rattled my soul on such a personal level.  I hope I can convey the message of this song so that your heart is stirred as well to the point of surrendering to His will in your own life.
      As believers, I hope we can all relate to this song.  We have rejected world views and returned to God and His will for us.  The reading and hearing of God's words have broken us to surrender our will to His mighty plan.  That plan includes hurts and afflictions to draw us nearer to Him.  As John Piper says, "Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all of your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there, but all of it is TOTALLY MEANINGFUL.  Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don't care if it was cancer or criticism, if it was slander or sickness, it wasn't meaningless....Don't look to what is seen...It's working for you an eternal weight of glory, therefore do not lose hope but take these truths and day by day focus on them...Preach His Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for."  I think that is one of the best sermon out-takes about how our lives are not about our 'happiness' but more about God's use of us in His plan.
        God does 'do it all in love.'  We sometimes compare our lives with others, disregarding our own blessings, and think it's unfair.  Oh, how that steals our personal joy.  Hebrews 13:9   "God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness."  2 Peter 1:3  "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."   God's love is so great that He sent His Son to suffer and die for our sake.  There is no greater gift in life to receive.   So when we suffer for God's greater good and plan, how can we call it unfair?  May we say 'Yes, Lord, I am yours and may your will be done, however You see fit.'
       As for myself, I have felt slayed, taken from, and ruined in areas of my life..but never destroyed.  God's love is my refuge and shelter.  His grace and mercy are what I will boast about to others.  He is all I need because He is my foundation upon which I hope to build my life.  His forgiveness covers all my failings, when that wasn't true.  When one day you hear this song when I am gone, know that I believed whole-heartedly.."But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord..Lifted high on that day..Behold, the Lamb that was slain..
And I'll know every tear was worth it all."

May your heart, mind and soul seek to find the confidence that only God provides through your own personal salvation.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Full Life

John 10:10  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

        What a verse that describes 'evil versus good' so well.  The motives and agendas of both forces are clear and straightforward.  Who's side do you want to be on and fight for?  Both Satan and God want you to be a part of their armies, but it is a choice only you can make for yourself.  You will stand alone on your Judgement Day and answer for the decision you made in your lifetime.
       "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."  Satan has only evil intentions and destruction as his goal for us. He seeks to deceive our souls, therefore murdering our very souls.   Satan's helpers in this world strive to keep scripture from the lost or alter it to their advantage.  Although Deuteronomy 12:31-32 says "You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.  See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it."  Satan schemes to steal our joy, kill our heart's desires for righteousness, and destroy our hopes of any thought of eternal life with Jesus.  Satan aims to persecute those who stand strong in their faith despite the opposition to drive or carry them off from their godly beliefs.
      "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  God only wants the best, His best, for us and therefore sent His Son to save us from the fall of mankind.  Jesus came to give us a life that might be justified, sanctified, and one day glorified.  God wants for us "a life more abundant than that which was lost and forfeited by sin, more abundant than that which was promised by the law of Moses, length of days in Canaan, more abundant than could have been expected or than we are able to ask or think.  Life in abundance is eternal life, life without death or fear of death, life and much more."[M.Henry]  It was the will of God to give his life to purchase his chosen, pay for our sin debt, and cleanse us of that sin with his blood.  1 John 3:16  "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." John 15:13  "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."
      As for myself, I am a friend of God and I am in the Lord's army.  I want my blog and my life to be a testimony that causes people to want a faith that is God-centered and God-driven.  I love that God not just gives me life but that it is blessed abundantly, when I live as He intended.  The world makes promises of fulfillment, but only disappointment follows.  My life has physical struggles but I am blessed with so many fun, crazy adventures that obstacles are just opportunities for God to shine.  Fear not, for God is with me!  I can only imagine how awesome eternity will be!

Ephesians 6:12  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Psalm 91:9-16
"If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread on the lion and the cobra;    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.  “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,  I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

     Life is short and tomorrow is not promised, so reject the dark side and it's spiritual deception.  Instead, embrace the Light of Jesus and experience the fullness of life--as He intended.  May a relationship and eternal life with God be your life's mission.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Heart Prayers

Psalm 42:8  "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life."

      How is your prayer life?  What's the central theme of your prayers?  Do you pray at all, for that matter?  Prayer is your direct, unfiltered, unbiased communication with God. Prayer is available 24/7 with no appointment required and is accessible anywhere.  What a privilege we have to talk to God for help, direction, comfort and everything that's on our minds and hearts but yet we so often take it for granted.  Prayer is too often our 911 call or last resort in a crisis.  What about a thankful prayer or a praise only prayer?
      Daniel is an excellent example of a solid and consistent prayer life.  Daniel relied on his strength from God and trusted God above his fears.  Daniel remained committed to God, regardless of the crisis or environment that he was in.
     "The life of faith is a marathon. The ups, the downs, and the plateaus in our prayer life are a reflection of this race. And just as in a marathon we need to keep running, so we keep praying. The point is: Don’t give up!" []
      The caption above is posted as a Scripture based set of prayers from Colossians to help strengthen your walk with God.  These prayers help us to focus on God's will in our lives above our own selfish thoughts and will.  "Let your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven" and through me to glorify You.
      Your prayer life, or lack of, affects both you and your loved ones.  Your cup runneth over into their cups, whether blessings or strife, depending a lot on your time with God.  Prayer can move the mountains in your life, without an ounce of your physical presence or ability.
     As for myself, praying is often all I can do for myself or others.  It is powerful and enough!  I encourage you to become a prayer warrior!  

5 Finger Prayer  []

When you fold your hands, the thumb is nearest you. So begin by praying for those closest to you—your loved ones (Phil. 1:3–5).
• The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you—national and local leaders, and your supervisor at work (1 Tim. 2:1–2).
• The index finger is the pointer. Pray for those who teach—Bible teachers and preachers, and those who teach children (1 Thess. 5:25).
• The fourth finger is usually the weakest. Pray for those who are in trouble or who are suffering (James 5:13–16).
• Then comes your little finger. It reminds you of your smallness in relation to God’s greatness. Ask Him to supply your needs (Phil. 4:6, 19).
Prayer is needed every day, and throughout the day.